On the 17th of August 2017, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Event Based Surveillance (EBS) system detected the news of a strange illness in Kogi State. In addition to this, we had received a report of a strange illness in Kwara State a week before.
Our Surveillance Team immediately contacted the State Epidemiology Teams of both States. Preliminary findings from the States showed that some cases presented with symptoms that fits the case definition of Lassa fever. However, laboratory test came out negative for Lassa fever and tests are now being carried out for other viral diseases in one of our collaborating laboratories.
In Kogi State, the State Epidemiology Team led by the State Commissioner of Health visited towns said to be affected by the strange illness and found five cases with mild illness. The patients were treated and discharged immediately. No other cases/ deaths of unknown illness have been identified. However, samples for routine laboratory investigation have been taken from the sick and results are being awaited.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control is supporting Kogi and Kwara States in ongoing investigations and our Rapid Response Team is ready to be deployed as required. We are constantly working with all the State Epidemiologists to ensure the health security of all Nigerians, by developing our laboratory capacity and ability to respond rapidly.
We ask members of the public to continue to ensure proper hygiene and sanitation measures are in place at all times and avoid self-medication. They are also encouraged to report to a health facility immediately if they experience symptoms such as sudden high fever, especially if it does not respond to conventional remedies.
Health workers should ensure universal care precautions while handling patients at all times. If common causes of febrile illnesses are ruled out, health workers should inform the Local Government or State Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer (DSNO) and ensure immediate laboratory investigation.
We will continue to work with the States to monitor the current situation and will share new information received, proactively. Our communication channels remain open.
NCDC toll-free number: 0800-970000-10